Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself. – Conan Doyle
We’ve all heard the saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” But, in leadership, it is often the small stuff that makes the biggest difference. That’s one of the reasons why our team at Southwest Michigan First is so dedicated to our brand and the standard of excellence that we hold ourselves accountable to. Let me give you some “little” examples: We only use blue ink, never black or red or purple. Everyone on our team learns quickly that blue ink is one of our standards. Likewise, we only use paper clips branded with our catalyst logo, never staples.
These are just a couple of the details that set our team apart. But, the details themselves aren’t the important thing, it’s the why that everyone must buy into and understand. So, why blue ink? We only use blue ink because we want every document we share to stand out from our competitors – even when it is photocopied or scanned.
Why branded paper clips? We don’t use staples because they either get ripped out or leave ugly marks in the corners. We want to make sure that our documents are as easy to handle and look as nice as possible – even when they leave our control. When competing for a project with hundreds of jobs for the community, little things like this can have huge implications.
Another “little thing” our team laughs about is all of the drinks we have in our refrigerator. We don’t just have Coke, Diet Coke, Pepsi and Diet Pepsi – we probably have 20+ varieties of drinks available. Why? Because it is so fun to ask a client, “What do you like to drink?” and when they find out you just happen to have their go-to drink of Caffeine Free Diet Dr. Pepper on hand, they are WOWed.
You might think – it’s just a drink, who cares? We do. We want people to walk out of our doors every time feeling special. It is a function of servant leadership to make sure people know that we care about them. We want them to say, “If they are great at customer experience in a normal Monday afternoon meeting, I can trust them to be incredible with the big moments too.” Doing the little things right is just another expression of love for us.
The truth is, leaders are responsible to foster the environment of a team, organization or family. When everyone in your environment strives to be excellent in the details, the big things almost always take care of themselves.
Question: What are the “little things” for your team? How are you creating a brand and striving for excellence as a leader?